It seemed like sports betting in Ohio was almost figured out around this time last year. Late changes and failed negotiations turned it into an issue for this year, though.
Ohio-based bettors are hoping for better news this year, which could come as soon as this week. That’s according to Sen. Kirk Schuring during an interview with 1480 WHBC last week:
“We are getting closer. So here’s what I would tell you: if we can get this meeting with (House) Speaker (Bob) Cupp this week, the conference committee should be able to do something as early as next week.”
Neither Cupp nor Sen. President Matt Huffman‘s offices would confirm or deny if the meeting happened when contacted by LSR Friday morning.
Ohio sports betting start date getting later
One thing is definite: online Ohio sportsbooks will launch later than the Senate previously wanted if a bill passes at this point.
The Senate’s current pitch includes the application period opening Feb. 15 because it takes 90 days for legislation to go into law after Gov. Mike DeWine signs it. Those applications would be approved or disapproved no later than April 30.
Ohio sports betting could have started April 1 if it were legalized over the summer.
That means just like last year, bettors must flock to the neighboring legal states to place their March Madness bets.
There is no question Ohio is feeding the legal sports betting markets around it for NFL betting as well this year. Pennsylvania sportsbooks and Michigan sportsbooks ranked second and third in online gambling transactions through the first four weeks of the NFL season.
Who is in the conference committee?
There are plenty of familiar names appointed to the conference committee that will hammer out the final details if Cupp and Huffman come to an agreement.
Senators Schuring, Nathan Manning and Cecil Thomas will represent the Senate. All were involved in the multiple hearings held on OH sports betting earlier in the year.
Representatives Jay Edwards, Bill Seitz and Adam Miller will negotiate for the House.
Notably missing is Sen. Niraj Antani, a co-sponsor of SB 176 who promised an Ohio resident he could come yell at Antani if sports betting was not figured out by June 30.